Can you imagine being marooned in an island…that’s 15 minutes away from Manila, has open spaces, a lot of greenery and offers a variety of activities for everyone in the family?
If so, then Island Cove should be your next stop.
Written by Erika Coronel
Photographed by Mike Cuevas of Studio 100
The age of convenience. That’s the era we live in, and there’s no shame in admitting that it’s a great time to be in. Why? Because times are quite different now, especially for young, dual-income families that work hard while trying to be present in their children’s lives. So, the easier something is for said parents, the better—this includes family weekend getaways.
This is where Island Cove, a resort that functions as a small town, enters. Its 36 hectares of land is more than enough space to make it a one-stop family bonding destination. What that means for busy families is that there’s no need to hop from one place to another, because Island Cove is packed with activities for everybody.
The team rested their pretty heads in a deluxe room, one of the newer lodgings in the island. It really is pretty standard: comfortable beds, good amenities and it’s close to a pool should you decide to have a pre-bedtime dip. The best feature of the room was the spacious bathroom that had two sinks.
PLACES TO SEE, THINGS TO DO
Now for the fun part. One of the biggest hurdles during family trips is that the different personalities and interests—which often clash—present a challenge when it comes to choosing an activity. Well, there certainly is no need to butt heads or suffer through something you’d rather not do because there are myriad things that can be done. Take your pick:
Kids can get up close and personal with crocodiles, exotic birds, tigers, snakes, turtles and monkeys and learn a lot about how these live, thanks to patient and willing guides who accompany visitors around the zoo.
What’s noteworthy is that the animal sanctuary is surrounded by open space, unlike usual zoos confined within walls. The provincial setting of dirt roads lined with coconut trees is an added bonus during the tour.
Swim and Splash Park
Let’s skip the standard pools for adults and dive right into (pun intended) the ones for kids. They have slides and sprayers for the ultimate fun under the sun. But it’s not all fun in Island Cove as they take safety seriously. Rubber mats are laid by the poolside to reduce slipping incidents; but, should unavoidable slipping occur, the mats will cushion any fall.
Though there are no paved bike paths, bikes are available for renting. And because you’re on an island, there are fewer cars which make pedaling around a much safer activity. The expansive location also means that the chances of growing tired of the scenery are slim. There’s just so much to explore on this 36-hectare R&R haven.
Up for challenging your spatial skills? There’s nothing like a real labyrinth, complete with tall (fake) hedges for effect. If you’re bad with directions, it’s good to know that an elevated seating area is located by the side of the maze so someone can lead you out, should you need assistance.
It is said that patience is a virtue. Well, you can practice that while fishing at the aptly named Fishing Village, which is actually a bunch of dining areas on stilted huts that sit on top of a salt-water pond. (More on the Fishing Village is discussed below). For P100, you can (attempt to) catch lunch or dinner (i.e. Tilapia) happily swimming underneath the hut for a unique dining experience.
This Pinoy cuisine restaurant offers the freshest catch of the sea. But, perhaps, the best thing about the location is the stunning view of open water and the Metro Manila skyline just beyond. There’s no doubt that dinner time would offer the most romantic setting!
From the mouth-watering sauces (jerky, garlic parmesan, tomato chili and classic Sangley) that accompany the oh-so-tender Pork Ribs and Chicken to the salad dressings to the dough of the Margherita pizza to the corned-beef, everything is “homemade.” There’s also an herb garden that supplies Oregano, Pandan, Tarragon, Basil, Mint and Tanglad to the restaurant. Malu Samaco, the Executive Assistant Manager, boasts that they don’t purchase anything bottled or canned which is perfect for health-conscious diners.
No getaway is complete without a trip to the spa. Here are two treatments available at the Island Spa:
Silky Body Polish + Skin Nourishing Massage
This is a recommended combination. The Silky Body Polish is a scrub that leaves skin as soft and silky as a baby’s bottom. As for the Skin Nourishing Massage, you can pick which product you’d like to use: papaya (for lightening), passion fruit (for firming), avocado (for moisturizing) and two kinds of Pevonia products, an organic skin care line, (for nourishing and firming).
Silky Body Polish (P1,100 for 30 minutes); Skin Nourishing Massage (P1,100 for 1 hour)
This massage is a combination of traditional hilot, bamboo and seashell massage. It uses rice bran oil which is a nutritive oil with anti-aging properties. Guests can choose between the house oil (relaxing), lavender (invigorating), peppermint (mosquito repellant), eucalyptus (decongestant) and rice bran (anti-aging). The Hilot technique uses a deep tissue massage with an aromatic hot pouch, bamboo and seashells. The pouch and bamboo (used to relieve stiffness and knots, respectively) were used to knead the body, while the seashells grazed the skin. The effect? To restore physical, emotional, mental and spiritual wellbeing. P1,400 for 1 hour
Why hop to a zoo, waterpark and resort situated in different parts of the Philippines when you can have all in one place? The most appealing aspect of visiting Island Cove is that it is the “whole pie” of theme parks, with the others just a subset.
Island Cove is located at Binakayan, Kawit, Cavite; tel. (2)810 7878 and (46)434 0210; visit